Friday, February 27, 2015

Coming soon to a blog near you...

I am so excited that we will be starting the book of Matthew on Monday in our Good Morning Girls Bible Study!

As I did with the book of Exodus, I will be reading through the Gospel of Matthew one chapter a day 5 days per week. I am excited to study the life of Christ in preparation for Resurrection Day on April 5th!

I look forward to sharing with you many things the Lord teaches me as I SOAK up Matthew's Gospel! You can expect to see my first post about Matthew to be on here sometime Tuesday next week. :)

On Monday, I will be releasing a very helpful resource for homeschooling moms! So tell all your homeschooling friends and be here to see what's new on the blog on Monday!!!!

We took an early "spring break" this week to do some rearranging and reorganizing. I LOVE our new homeschool area! I hope to post some pictures about that soon as well. :)

So what has been happening in your little corner of the world? What are some things you have planned at your house next week?

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Wednesday, February 25, 2015

As Unto the Lord: The Crafting of the Ark & the Tabernacle

This week I am finishing up the book of Exodus in my Good Morning Girls Bible Study. I never knew there was so much to be learned from this book! Taking the time to really read the Scriptures, make observations and personal applications, and pray for wisdom and guidance has been so amazing! Even the past couple weeks as we have been reading about seemingly mundane things like all the measurements and building details of things like the Ark of the Covenant and the Tabernacle, I have been blessed.

Image courtesy of 2nix at Free Digital Photos

It was very interesting to me to read that God sent His Spirit to help guide and inspire the craftsmen who would have the task of building His dwellingplace. These men were named Bezaleel and Aholiab. They were not priests or great Spiritual leaders. They were just skilled workman who loved God and did their work "as unto the Lord."

No doubt these two men had spent years learning and perfecting their crafts. They had designed and crafted many ordinary things as part of their jobs. Possibly they had worked making finery for Pharaoh in Egypt. They had proven themselves to be Godly, wise, skillful, and diligent. They got the job done right without cutting corners. They were good at what they did. God was pleased with what He saw in these men.

Now God had called them out by name as the ones He had chosen for what would be their magnum opus, or "great work" - the project that they would be remembered by forever.

Exodus 36-40 is full of meticulous details. There were all the different types of materials used. All the measurements are precise. As I read about these men and the hard work and diligence they put into this task, I was inspired.

Just because someone may not be a preacher, Sunday school teacher, song leader, or otherwise in some prominent place of Spiritual leadership does not mean that person is not useful to God!

Each of us has something we do. I am a mommy, homeschool teacher, wife, homemaker, and blogger. I have always had a knack for writing and a special gift and love for teaching. God has given me the skills I need to do what I do. In return, if I use these skills for Him, He will bless the outcome.

Some people are carpenters, doctors, nurses, secretaries, waitresses, plumbers, police officers, firemen, computer programmers, farmers, factory workers, or part of some other profession. God needs them just as much as He needs preachers and Sunday School teachers!! He needs them to be faithful and diligent in their day to day work. He receives glory from the lives and the work of Christians who live out their faith even in the mundane.

Bezaleel and Aholiab had pleased God by being careful and skillful in their professions. We too can please God and bring glory to Him when we follow this command from Colossians 3:23, And whatsoever ye do, do it heartily as to the Lord, and not unto men.

How are you serving God with your day to day life? Are you careful to do your even the most mundane tasks in a way that would honor Him? What special skills or talents has God blessed you with? Develop them and use them to His glory!!

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Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Our Favorite Hot Chocolate Recipe

There is just nothing like a nice warm mug of hot chocolate when it's cold outside!

I want to share with you our family's favorite hot chocolate recipe! It is super easy to make and oh so good! :)

Easy Hot Chocolate

Serves 4


1/3 C. Sugar
3 Tbsp. Cocoa
1/8 tsp. Salt
1/3 C. Hot Water
4 C. Milk
3/4 tsp. Vanilla
Optional: Mini Marshmallows


1.) In a saucepan combine sugar, cocoa, and salt.

2.) Add the hot water and bring to a boil over medium heat. Stir constantly.

3.) Boil & stir about 2 minutes.

4.) Pour in the milk.

5.) Stir & heat. DO NOT BOIL!

6.) Once it is good and hot, remove from heat and add in the vanilla.

7.) Mix well.

8.) Dip out the hot chocolate into mugs (carefully, it will burn you!), and top with mini marshmallows if desired!

This is so good to have ready to serve with children come inside after playing in the snow during the winter!

This recipe is very simple, but trust me it beats those little instant microwavable hot cocoa pouches all to pieces!! ;)

Give this recipe a try at your house this week and let me know how you like it!!

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Monday, February 23, 2015

10 Tips for Selling Children's Used Clothes on Ebay

At this time of the year many of us are decluttering, reorganizing, and getting ready for Spring cleaning! If your children are anything like my boys, they grow quickly leaving lots of outgrown clothes behind. What are you going to do with all those (barely) used items of clothing?

You could always throw them away, hand them down to the next child in line, or donate them to charity. But in today’s post, I want to share with you some helpful tips for selling your children’s used clothing on ebay.

While I was expecting Little Brother, I did a major overhaul of all Big Brother’s outgrown clothing spanning several years back! Using only my smartphone and the ebay and PayPal apps, I was able to get rid of basically all of the accumulated outgrown clothing clutter in about 2 months! I did not make a fortune, but what I did make was enough to buy him some new clothes that fit.

In case for whatever reason you don’t know, ebay is an online auction site. You can post basically any item up for auction. People have a set amount of time (usually 7 days) to bid on your item. The highest bidder wins, you get paid via PayPal, and you then ship the item to the buyer. The setup is pretty simple, and relatively safe.

While I have pretty much specialized in selling used children’s clothing, these tips will be applicable to any items you might want to offer for auction on ebay.

1. You will first need to sign up for both an ebay account and a PayPal account. This is very fast and easy to do.

2. Pull out all the outgrown clothes your children have and look them over. If you have some that are in pretty bad shape (holes, big stains, rips, buttons or zippers missing, etc.), just trash them. But give the items that are in Excellent or Gently Used condition a wash & dry. All clothes you sell on ebay must be clean.

3. Sort the clothing by gender and size. I used a notebook to keep track of what all I had. Plan to sell outfits and matching sets together. If you see you have several similar items of the same size (such as 5 pairs of size 6 boy’s blue jeans), you might do well to list those as a lot instead of individually.

4. Iron the clothing items and get them ready to take pictures. Natural lighting is best. You can post up to 12 free photos per auction, so take several pictures of your items from various angles. Get close up shots of brand names, tags, writing or graphics on the clothing, etc. Crop your pictures well. I did this all with my smartphone and the ebay app, but if you have a nice camera available to you feel free to use it!

5. Create a good searchable title for your auction item. Do not just call it “Boy’s Pajamas” but instead be as specific as possible. “Carter’s Size 3T Toddler Boy’s Long Sleeved Puppy Dog Pajamas Blue” would get a lot more views! Use as many keywords as you can possibly fit that you think someone might use to search for similar items.

6. Give plenty of details in your item description. Size, color, brand, condition, and any other pertinent information you can possibly think of to include. Be as specific as you can.

7. Set your prices carefully. Be especially careful when setting your shipping price. Be sure you will get enough to cover the cost of packaging and shipping your item. Set your starting bid at the lowest price you would be willing to accept for the item. You can then set a “Buy It Now” price that is a bit higher. A lot of people will choose this option just to get the item right away instead of having to wait until the auction closes. And remember that both ebay and PayPal will charge you a small percentage of the final total selling cost, so take care not to sell yourself short and end up in the hole!

8. Answer questions from potential buyers promptly and courteously.

9. Always ship items at least within 2 business days, and take great care in how you package the item. Include an invoice and a note of thanks. You want your buyers to leave you good feedback as this will help your reputation on ebay.

10. If you have items that don’t sell the first time you list them, perhaps try again with better pictures, a more specific title, slightly lower price, or a better description. If any item I list does not sell after a couple tries, it goes to Goodwill! Remember the goal is to clear clutter!

Here are some of the childrens clothing items I have had the most success with on ebay:

* Pajama sets (especially Carter’s brand or anything featuring popular characters)

* Pairs of shoes (Tennis shoes and dress shoes)

* LOTS of similarly sized shirts (play shirts and dress shirts)

*LOTS of similarly sized jeans/pants

* Dressy outfits

I hope you have found this post helpful! What do you do with your children’s old clothes? Have you tried ebay? How did it work out for you? Do you have any other tips you could share?

Be sure to connect with me on Twitter, Pinterest, and Facebook!!

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Sunday, February 22, 2015

Learn the 10 Commandments Printable Activity Packet


This is the printable I created to use when I was teaching Big Brother the 10 Commandments. I am happy to offer it to my readers now as an inexpensive download!

This could easily be used to create a lapbook or for notebooking (which is what we did), and it is suitable for all ages.

This Activity Packet uses the Ten Commandments as they are found in the KJV Exodus 20.

For more fun ideas and activities for helping your child learn the 10 Commandments, read this post

Click here to purchase and download your Learn the 10 Commandments KJV Activity Pack!

This is a pdf file. You will be taken to Oronjo to complete the download. Thanks!

This will be added to the Printables page as soon as possible.

Please feel free to share a link to this post with your friends, but do NOT post a link to the download itself. I will appreciate that!!

God bless you as you teach your children to hide God's Word in their hearts!

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Friday, February 20, 2015

Preparing My Baby to Love Learning

I am a big proponent of parents reading with their children from a very young age! Some of my favorite early childhood memories are of snuggling up with my Mom listening to her read to me. I have always loved books, reading, writing, and learning; and I attribute a big part of that to the environment in which I was raised.

Both of my babies LOVE books, and snuggling up to read with them is one of my absolute favorite things. Right now my youngest is 9 1/2 months old, and he already has several books that are definitely his favorites!

Babies need to have books read to them! They are like thirsty little sponges soaking up words and language even before they are able to speak. Looking at pictures, hearing Mommy or Daddy's voice saying the words, pointing, turning pages, even chewing on the book are all wonderful first steps on your baby's journey into the world of books, learning, and literacy!

The biggest thing you can do to prepare your baby for a life of learning is to read to them!!!

Here are some tips and thoughts for reading with your baby, and then I will share 3 of Little Brother's current favorites!

* Provide your baby with lots of sturdy board books and put them in easy reach. These books are going to get loved and chewed, so make sure they can handle it! Encourage Baby to explore books both with you and on his own.

* Try to set aside a special storytime each day as part of baby's normal routine. Before naptime and bedtime are great times since reading may helo calm Baby for sleep, but anytime that seems to work for you will be fine!

* There are lots of great children's books, Bible stories, poetry books, etc. out there. Just take your pick! Baby just needs to hear those words being used. He or she may not be so much interested in the storylines at this point, and simple books with lots of repitition and big clear pictures are great.

* I also include Little Brother as much as possible even when I am reading chapter books or Scriptures to Big Brother. His little ears and brain are taking it all in even though he may not yet comprehend the stories just yet. What you read to your baby is up to you; just read to them!!

* Look for ways to engage your baby. Take your time if Baby seems interested and point out familiar things in the pictures. Label everything verbally for your baby, and this is also a good time to teach ASL signs. Find ways to play games or act out what you are reading about with your baby.

* Let your baby see you reading. Make reading and learning natural parts of your own life. Your baby will want to imitate and follow the examples you set.

As promised, here are Little Brother's current Top 3 Favorite Books!

Goodnight Moon by Magaret Wise Brown (I still have this one completely memorized from reading it SO many times to Big Brother when he was this age! This simple rhyming book is very soothing. It is definitely a classic and a must-read!)

Mr. Brown Can Moo, Can You? By Dr. Seuss (This is a fun rhyming book about all kinds of silly noises! This book encourages Baby to play and experiment with making all different kinds of sounds from "moo's" to whispers! Love it!)

My First Read and Learn Bible (This colorful board book gently introduces Baby to God and many beloved Bible stories and people. There are just a few simple sentences on each page, so it is not too much for short attention spans! Definitely a favorite!)

What are some ways you prepare your baby's for a lifelong love of learning? What are some of your little ones' favorite books? Feel free to share!!

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Thursday, February 19, 2015

Our Homeschool Week in Review 2-16-15 to 2-20-15

This has definitely been an interesting week for us!

We started the week out with a record breaking snow storm on Monday that dropped about a foot of snow in our region of Kentucky in a relatively short period of time. There has been more snow through the week on top of what fell on Monday, and more is predicted for this weekend (along with possible ice!).

So Big Brother and I went out several times to measure the snow depth in our yard as it piled up more and more on Monday. Once while the snow was falling he took a sheet of black construction paper out and caught some powdery flakes of snow. We marvelled at how unique each tiny snowflake was!

Then on Tuesday, Daddy was home from work due to the snow, so after school we all bundled up and headed outside! Big Brother and Daddy threw powdery snowballs, made snow angels, and constructed a "cool" snow tunnel!

Little Brother (now 9 1/2 months) also bundled up to experience the snow for the first time! He seemed very fascinated in looking around at the winter wonderland our neighborhood had suddenly become. I picked up a handful of snow in my hands and let him touch it briefly with his little fingers. He seemed very shocked at how it felt, and I used the opportunity to work with him on the ASL sign COLD.

Click here to read my post about "Snow School" activities!!

In other news, Big Brother has been learning about prayer in his Bible devotions this week. His theme verse has been 1 Thessalonians 5:17 "Pray without ceasing." He is also working on memorizing Psalm 23 right now, and he almost has it!

I am proud to say he passed his 26th spelling test of the year this week with a 100%!

In his Rod & Staff Reading book he has been reading about Saul being chosen as king and how he began to fall out of God's favor by disobedience. His favorite story this week was about when Saul's son Jonathan and his helper sneaked up on the Phillistine army. Big Brother loved acting this story out for me after he read it...complete with the earthquake God sent to confuse the enemies!

In English he is starting to learn now about paragraphs. He is learning about things like indenting the first line of a paragraph, finding out the topic of a paragraph, etc.

In math this week Big Brother began doing addition problems into the hundreds in which he had to carry over twice. He loves it for some reason!? We have also been learning about 1/2 and 1/4, 1 dozen=12 things, reviewing days of the week, and working out word problems that involve subtraction.

In our Geography studies this week his favirite activity has been putting together a big U.S. Map Puzzle! This was such a fun way for him to review all the states he's been reading about, where they are located, and their capitals. As he worked on the puzzle we also worked on directionality. I would ask questions like, "What state is south of Kentucky?" Or "Which ocean is touches the west coast?" etc.

In science we have gone from whales to Newton's 3 laws of motion! :) We have read about motion, force, speed, etc. and experimented using toy cars. He has been recording the results of his experiments in his science notebook.

In history as I have already posted we are currently studying Henry Clay. It has been most interresting to learn that we are in fact related to him...two different ways! (This is Kentucky after all, folks!) ;) So that just makes our learning about him really special for Big Brother!
Get your FREE Henry Clay notebooking page here!__

In music he is currently practicing preparatory level arrangements of Doxology and Ode to Joy. He will be starting recorder band and handbell choir with our co-op just as soon as the weather allows!

Other than all this he has taken turns reading stories together with me, taken care of his sea monkeys, listened to Adventures in Odyssey episodes, and enjoyed chasing after his busy Little Brother!

We've been very blessed in our little homeschool this week!

Share what's been happening in your homeschool this week!!

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Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Our Advocate With God

This week in my Good Morning Girls Bible Study, the children of Israel fell headfirst into the sin of idolatry while Moses was up on the mountain communing with God.

The people of Israel had just been miraculously delivered, rescued, and fed by God.

Aaron and his sons had just been consecrated to God and set apart as God's High Priests.

But as it can be with all of us as humans, their memories were very short!

The people started getting impatient wondering what has taken Moses so long. They wonder if he is even still alive. They begin to question the existance of the true God and demand instead a god they can see with their own eyes.

Aaron, the man supposedly set apart as the only one consecrated to enter into the holiest part of God's Tabernacle, becomes nothing more than a weak people-pleaser at the demands of the mob.

Bull worship was common religious practice in the land of Egypt from which the people had just been delivered. Obviously they had been influenced by this practice and still held it in their hearts, because the "god" Aaron fashioned from gold was a calf.

Of course we know both God and Moses were VERY angry! God was ready to wipe the whole nation of Israel out at this time because of this great sin. Moses through down the tablets of stone God had written upon with His own hand and broke them. He destroyed the calf, ground it to powder, put it in the water and made the people drink it (yuck!). This was no laughing matter.

But Moses, as a good leader, comes before the Lord and begs Him not to destroy the people. He pleads with Him to remember the covenants He made with their fathers. He insists that if God destroys the nation of Israel, that he himself should be destroyed with them.

Moses was acting as the children of Israel's advocate. An advocate is sort of like a lawyer who stands before the judge on someone else's behalf and pleads their case for them. Even the vilest and gulitiest of criminals has someone who will be on their side and will seek mercy and pardon on their behalf.

I am so thankful that Jesus is my advocate with God!!

Everyone makes mistakes. And yes even seasoned Christians can become weak when they do not keep their relationship with God fresh in their hearts, and can stumble into sin.

Yes, sadly it happens. It does not have to happen, but often it does.

Now let me pause here a moment. I do NOT believe the whole "Even Christians sin daily" thing as this is NOT found anywhere in Scripture! Mistakes and willful sin are two different things many people get confused. God is able to keep us from sin IF we abide in Him and keep our relationship with Him strong. But it is when we become forgetful, impatient, and weak like Aaron and the people of Israel that we can slip back into our old ways.

A holy God cannot look upon sin, and sin brings only death and destruction. So then what is the guilty party to do??

1 John 2:1 gives us hope for these situations:

My little children, these things write I unto you, that ye sin not. And if any man sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous.

Jesus is our advocate, our lawyer, the one who can stand before the Holy God on our behalf and plead our case. If we only come to Him in sincerity and heartfelt repentance, He will go to the Father and seek pardon for us. He covers our sin and guilt with His blood then, and it is cast as far as the east is from the west!

I am truly thankful for Jesus taking my punishment and being willing to plead my case before Almighty God. I am thankful for God's unmerited grace and mercy that He is willing to extend to all if they will only accept the cleansing blood of Jesus and let it wash their souls clean!

Let us not be like the children of Israel and Aaron who so soon forgot their covenant with God. Let us find ways to remind ourselves to daily nourish our relationship with God. Let us seek to rid our hearts of our old ways and our old worldviews so that we are less and less tempted to fall back into them!

I pray you have accepted Christ as your own personal Savior and that He is your advocate today!

How do you keep your relationship with God strong? Share in the comments below!!!

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What's in the Workbox?

I thought today I would give all of you a sneak peek at what is in Big Brother's Workboxes for today. Want to know more about how we use Workboxes? Check out this post!

Workbox #1 - Bible

We are reading Adventures in Odyssey's 90 Devotions for Kids. He has a daily Bible verse which I have him either write, trace, or color in his notebook.

Workbox #2 - Spelling

He has 1 page to do in his Rod & Staff Spelling workbook today. I will also be giving him an oral quiz in preparation for tomorrow's test. (Bragging Moment: Big Brother has had all 100% for Spelling so far this year!) ;)

*Workbox #3 - Phonics

Next he has his flashcards and phonics reading book. We use an old version of Hooked on Phonics I found cheap at Goodwill!! We started this set last year, and he should finish it up this year.

Workbox #4 - Reading

Here is his current reading book from Rod & Staff. He reads one lesson each day and then narrates back to me in sort of a Charlotte Mason style. He also has a bag of cards he is using to help him with memorizing Psalm 23 as that is his Scripture Memory assignment for this Reading Unit.

Workbox 5 - English

Today he only has his English Test Booklet in this box since he has a test to take today. (He actually thinks English tests are great fun!) :)

Workbox #6 - Geography

Today he has a U.S. Puzzle to put together! He is learning all about the 50 states right now!

Workbox #7 - Math

The workbox has his daily calendar booklet and his current workbook. We also get together for "Class Time" to do work on the dry erase board, drill facts, play some games, and do more hands-on math activities.

Workbox 8 - Science

This week we are learning all about motion. We will be conducting a fun experiment using the toy cars, timer, and tape measure! :)

Workbox #9 - Story Time

These are books we are currently taking turns reading aloud!

Workbox #10 - History**

Big Brother's favorite subject! We are reading about (our cousin) Henry Clay! Check out this post for a fun freebie!

After his workboxes are done he will practice piano, and then he is free until supper!

I hope you have enjoyed this little glimpse into our day!

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Monday, February 16, 2015

Learning About Cousin Henry + Printable!

Right now Big Brother is enjoying reading biographies for our history studies. He finished his 2nd grade ABeka history before Christmas break, and now we are choosing interesting people to read and write about.

My mother was recently studying our family tree and discovered that we are distantly related to many famous historical figures! Big Brother has found this facinating! One of these distant cousins of ours happens to be The Great Compromiser himself, Kentucky's own Henry Clay!

When we visited our KY State Capitol building, he saw the statue of Henry Clay in the rotunda and was eager to learn more about him...especially with him being our kin and all! :)

So we are currently reading through the book Henry Clay: Young Kentucky Orator which is part of the Childhood of Famous Americans series. We are both learning more about this great man!! I would love to get to visit his estate called Ashland in Lexington, KY perhaps this spring or summer!

As he reads about different people this year, I am having Big Brother write me up a few sentences about the person. I created a simple notebooking page for him to write about Henry Clay, and I am offering it now for you to download. :)

Click here to purchase your printable Henry Clay notebooking page! (This is a pdf file.)

I am working on lots more downloads and printables to offer here for you.

(This post contained affiliate links. I receive a small commission when you make purchases through those links at no extra cost to you. Thank you for blessing our family this way!)

There's "Snow School" Today!!

We are currently bracing for what looks to be the biggest winter storm to hit KY since the 1990's! There's not a loaf of bread, kerosene heater, or snow shovel to be found in stores around here right now. 10"-16" is the latest prediction for our area!

We all know the joke about homeschoolers not getting snow days, but I am proclaiming there's "Snow School" today at our house! ;)

We will hit our most basic subjects, do a quick review of some of last week's work, and then we are going to do some activities related to the snow!

Need some ideas for "Snow School" at your house?

*What is snow? How does it form? Why does it snow? Grab a book and find out! We read this very fun, informative book called It's Snowing! by Gail Gibbons. Beautiful illustrations, fun facts, and more!

*Grab a Bible and a concordance! See how many references you can find to "snow" in the Scriptures. Read and discuss them!

*While the snow is falling, take a piece of black construction paper outside and catch a few snowflakes on it. Study them carefully. No two snowflakes are exactly alike. Each one is unique - just like us! Read and copy Psalm 139:14 as you ponder God's amazing creativity!

*Watch & listen to the local weather reports and keep up to date on current conditios in your area. When you hear cities and counties named, find them on a map.

*Measure the snow in your yard in both inches & centimeters. Measure every so often while the snow is falling and see if you can calculate how much snow is falling per hour.

*Take pictures of the snow at your house and send them along with your measurements to your local news media!

*Write a poem or story about the snow! Make it factual or silly!

* Draw, paint, or color snow pictures!

*Bundle up and head outside for some exercise, fun, and learning! Build a snow sculpture, snoman, or snow fort. Lay down and make snow angels! Look for animal footprints and try to identify them. Shovel the walkway and driveway! Perhaps do this for an elderly neighbor as well. Do some target practice throwing snowballs! If you have any good hills, go sledding!

*Google "How to Make Snow Ice Cream" and give it a try! Or perhaps hot chocolate or a warm bowl of soup sounds better just now?!

*Keep an eye on the temperature outside. Do you know how to convert temps from Farenhiet to Celsius and vice versa? See if you can find out the record low for your area. How does today's temp compare?

*Make a plan and gather supplies just in case the electricity goes out. Makea list of things you need, ways to keep warm, foods you can eat, etc.

*Just spend some cozy time reading and playing games together!

How do you spend "snow days" in your family? Share your ideas!!!

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Friday, February 13, 2015

My Thoughts on Valentine's Day...

Tomorrow is Valentine's Day! A day we set aside each year to celebrate those we love. I pray that all of my readers are surrounded by the love of family and friends as well as the never-ending love of God!

Most of what I know about the history of Valentine's Day I learned from the Adventures in Odyssey episode The Last I Do. You can download this episode from Whit's End, it is a great story!

It seems the man we refer to as St. Valentine was a brave man who upheld the Godly institution of marriage in a time when it was being strongly attacked (sounds familiar, huh?!). He died for his faith and for taking a stand. Before he died, he supposedly left a note to a young girl who had befriended him in prison and signed the note "Your Valentine."

So in rememberance of this brave man, we give cards and gifts to our own "Valentines" each year.

Just what is love? I would venture to guess that more books, songs, and poems have been written on love than on any other subject. But what is it?

1 John 4:8 says it simply and says it best"God is love!"

If you have God in your life, then you have all the love there is both to give and to receive!!

I am thankful for my special "Valentines" this year!

First of all my sweet, handsome, precious husband! God has truly blessed me with the man of my dreams!! He is faithful, honest, strong, loving, gentle, and did I mention handsome?! :)

I will let you all in on the secret of what I am giving him this year (he's not into technology, so don't worry, he won't be seeing this before he gets his gift!). I got this cute idea from Angie at Real Life at Home. You write a love note and tell your loved one how many days it has been since important milestones in your relationship. (There's a link on Angie's site for a calculator that can help!) So I borrowed some markers from Big Brother and created a cute love note/card counting how many days since...

*We first saw each other
*The first time we spoke
*The first time he called me
*Our first date
*The first time we held hands
*The day he proposed
*Our wedding day get the idea! :)

Then I closed the note by saying...

"And every single day...
I have LOVED you more!"

:) He will see it before he leaves for work in the morning.

And of course I am thankful for the love of my sweet little boys! I truly believe God gives us children to give us just a taste of what His unconditional love is really like. My boys are both so loving and sweet! Big Brother is full of energy, big ideas, and is a mamma's boy all over! Little Brother is my sweet baby, and he gives the most amazing sloppy kisses! Watching them learn and grow each day is my special privelege and blessing!!

Big Brother has made cards for all of us, but they are hidden and we have been told not to look for them! ;)

We look forward to spending some fun family time together tomorrow evening.

What are your thoughts on Valentine's Day? How do you celebrate those you love?

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Thursday, February 12, 2015

Holiness Unto the Lord!

As I was reading yesterday's chapter for my Good Morning Girls Bible study, 4 words in all caps just jumped off the page at me!


Chapters 28-29 of Exodus are about God giving instruction concerning Aaron and his sons as to their role as priests.

God details everything! He gives instructions for the making of their priestly garments. He gives the exact design for their special jewel breastplate. He gives orders for the men to be consecrated for God's work. And He gives step by step instructions for the priest's duties for sacrifices.

I pondered over all this and the phrase HOLINESS UNTO THE LORD that Aaron wore on his head. I could not help but be reminded of God's perfect holiness.

The Lord brought back to my mind some Scriptures in 1 Peter that Big Brother and I had studied some during his Bible time this week. These are New Testament verses that remind us that God expects us as Christians to be set apart, sanctified, and consecrated to follow God in holiness.

"As obedient children, not fashioning yourselves according to the former lusts in your ignorance: But as he which hath called you is holy, so be ye holy in all manner of conversation; Because it is written, Be ye holy; for I am holy." (1Peter 1:14-16)

"But ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, peculiar people; that ye should shew forth the praises of him who hath called you out of darkness into his marvelous light." (1 Peter 2:5)

God through Christ has in a sense made all Christians "priests" in that we can all come before the presence of God and bring our confessions, needs, and petitions to Him directly. But in order to have the intimate relationship with God that our souls so need and crave, we must come to God in holiness.

We must set ourselves apart from all worldly desires, all fleshly lusts, and all selfish pride. It is only by God's unmerited grace and the shed blood of Jesus that we are able to be follow God in this path of holiness. Sanctification (or being set apart for God) is an ongoing process in the life of a believer. It does not happen over night or in one single instant. It is a daily process of becoming more and more like God and less and less like the sinful world around us.

So many people I know think of "holiness" as either a denomination name or as a certain style of dress. But true Godly holiness goes so very much deeper than all that!! Holiness is a lifestyle, a condition of the heart, an entire worldview that follows our holy God above all else! Holiness is an inward matter that cannot help but manifest itself on the outward being! :)

I am seeking God to help me to learn more about Him and to give me the grace and wisdom to follow Him in holiness!

God bless!!

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Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Learning With LEGO! - History & Geography

Starting next week, I will be teaching a Learning with LEGO class at our local homeschool co-op! Big Brother is a big LEGO-lover, so we are both very excited.

We have discovered lots of neat ways to use LEGO in our homeschool to make learning more fun and engaging.

At the beginning of this school year, we did a week-long unit study and lapbook all about LEGO that I found here. (There is even a Jr. Version for preschoolers!!) We had a blast and learned so much that week!

During that study, we learned that LEGO were invented by a carpenter in Denmark named Ole Kirk Christiansen.

So we took some time to find Denmark on our globe and on our world map. Big Brother colored in the country of Denmark on a blank map for his lapbook.

Then we looked up the flag of Denmark. Using his red and white LEGO bricks, Big Brother created the flag of Denmark that is pictured above!

You could do this with any state or country you may be studying in history or geography.

You can also have your child fill in a blank map or flag of a particular state or country with LEGO bricks to make a LEGO map or flag!

If you have a large map, you could call out the name of a state or country and have your child place a LEGO on it.

Studying states (or countries) and capitols? Make a game of it with LEGO bricks! With a dry erase marker, write each state (or country) on a LEGO brick. Then write the capitols each on their own LEGO bricks as well. Then have your child match them up!

Another great idea is to have your child use LEGO bricks to build something related to what they are studying in history. Big Brother has built the Alamo several times and reenacted the battle there pretending his mini-figs were Davy Crockett or Jim Bowie! Other times he has built his own Titanic or Mayflower. He enjoys acting out these stories through play with his LEGO toys. For an older child, you might extend this into a writing activity.

With a little creativity and a lot of imagination you can make otherwise boring information (names, dates, places, maps, etc.) come to life with LEGO!

I look forward to sharing more LEGO Learning fun!!!

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Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Always Let Your Light Shine!

I was having a difficult time finding any personal applications while reading Exodus 27 for my Good Morning Girls Bible study this morning until I came almost to the end of the chapter! It was mostly about God continuing to give Moses very detailed instructions for the construction of the Tabernacle. Lots of measurements and such, but not a lot I could really glean any spiritual truths from for my life.

But then I came to Exodus 27:20, and really began to consider it.

And thou shalt command the children of Israel, that they bring thee pure oil olive beaten for the light, to cause the lamp to burn always.

This special lamp in the Tabernacle was powered by pure olive oil, and God wanted it to be kept shining brightly all the time.

As Christians, our hearts are God's Tabernacle. The pure olive oil represents His spirit.

Jesus said in Matthew 5:14-16 Ye are the light of the world. A city that is set on an hill cannot be hid.

Neither do men light a candle, and put it under a bushel, but on a candlestick; and it giveth light unto all that are in the house.

Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven.

We have all heard the old saying "Actions speak louder than words," and it is so true! Our lives should shine with the light of God's power and love. Our actions should be evidence that His pure spirit dwells within us.

The way we respond to others, the tone we use, the attitude we have, the mood we display, and the words we speak should shine brightly with God's light.

As a homeschooling mother, I spend a lot of my time with my family and in my home. I want my light to shine brightly for my husband and children. I want my actions as well as my reactions to be extensions of God's light of love manifesting itself through me.

In the same way, when I am out and about in my community or elsewhere, I want to be a good representative of Christianity. In the grocery store, the library, the doctor's office, or on field trips, I want people I meet to see Jesus in me. I want to make sure my lamp is full of God's pure spirit, and His light is shining through.

Even on this blog and as I interract with people online, I pray that my words and the heart that is behind them will always shine with the love and grace of our Lord.

Every Christian has the God given duty to live a life that is pleasing to the Lord and points others to Him!

This little light of mine,
I'm gonna let it shine!

Always let your light shine!

God bless!!!

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Monday, February 9, 2015

My Heart is His Home!

The past couple chapters I have been studying in my Good Morning Girls Bible study have been about God giving detailed instructions to Moses on things like the construction of the Ark of the Covenant and the Tabernacle.

Today in Exodus 26, God gave special instructions to Moses for the construction of the veil that would separate between the main area of the Tabernacle and the place where the Ark and the Mercy Seat were located.

This area was set apart as the place where God's presence would be. Only the high priest could go behind the veil, and even he would have to take serious precautions before doing so.

When Jesus died on the cross, the veil in the Temple was torn in half. This event showed that no longer was God's presence available only to the high priest; but God would now dwell in the hearts of men, women, boys, and girls everywhere!

Jesus alone is our high priest, and it is through His blood sacrifice that we can now enter into God's presence. If we have accepted Jesus as Savior, we can bring our petitions before God ourselves in Jesus' name. Hebrews 4:16 declares "Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need." No longer does a thick veil keep us from entering God's presence! We are welcomed and invited to come to Him in faith without fear.

If we fall into sin, we do not have to wait for a priest to approach the Mercy Seat for us! Jesus Himself is the "middle-man," not some other mere mortal man here on earth. 1 Timothy 2:5 tells us "For there is one God, and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus."

And when we come to God in sincerity asking for His mercy and forgiveness, we can be assured that "If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness." (1 John 1:9)

I am so thankful that no longer does God dwell in a building of wood or stone. He is no longer only the God of the Hebrews! No more is there a thick veil to separate me from Him!

My heart is HIS home!!!

Praise the Lord!!

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Saturday, February 7, 2015

Speed Cup Stacking! Homeschool P.E. #1

I am going to be posting periodically some ways we have done P.E. in our homeschool. There are so many great ideas and activities out there!

In the warmer months, P.E. can be as simple as a bike ride, park day, or playing baseball in the yard. But when it is too cold outside for these things, here's an activity that can keep your child's mind, hands, and body active inside!!

I was introduced to speed cup stacking several years ago, and Big Brother and I both love it!

In case this is your first time hearing about speed cup stacking (also called sport stacking), let me explain. The player has a mat, a timer, and 12 specially designed stackable plastic cups. The player races to upstack and down stack the cups in a certain pattern in the fastest time possible. The patterns are easy to learn. This is an activity that can be enjoyed by preschoolers through senior citizens!

There are 3 competive stacking patterns to learn. They are called the 3-3-3, the 3-6-3, and the Cycle.

This activity, though relatively simple to learn, is very challenging! The player must continually try to stack faster without having an avalanche of cups go tumbling everywhere.

With practice, some players are able to get remarkably fast! Check out this amazing cup stacking video!

Speed cup stacking has many benefits including:

*Promotes physical fitness
*Improves fine motor skills
*Builds eye/hand coordination
*Promotes ambidexterity and bilateral proficiency
*Sharpens quick reflexes
*Improves brain focus and concentration
*Builds spacial awareness
*Improves overall cognitive functioning

And did I mention that it is just plain FUN?! :)

You can speed stack on basically any hard, flat surface. Big Brother stacks on the kitchen table, on the piano bench, or in the floor!

Many schools and homeschool groups have formed speed stacking teams that compete. We simply enjoy cup stacking as a family right now, but if you are interested check out (the World Sport Stacking Association Website] for team & competition info.

This set is the official Speed Stacks kit and includes a stack mat, timer,12 stacking cups, and a training DVD.

Big Brother will often get out his set and follow along with the training DVD learning the fastest stacking strategies. For a child with attention issues, he will actually focus on cup stacking for close to an hour some days! It is simple but engaging, he gets immediate feedback from the timer on how well he's doing, and he gets to move quickly!! So it is definitely a win-win for him!

I encourage you to give speed cup stacking a try! Click here to get your set and start stacking!!

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Thursday, February 5, 2015

Oceans of Learning! - Notebooking 2nd Grade Science

This week Big Brother has been diving into learning all about the ocean!

Pictured are just a few of the books we've enjoyed reading this week! Most of these came from the library, but The Ocean Book by Frank Sherwin (part of the Wonders of Creation series) is ours. You can get The Ocean Book and many other awesome Creation-based science materials from the Answers in Genesis Bookstore!

We have been so fascinated learning about the astounding variety of species of plants and animals God designed to live in the oceans...and man has still not discovered them all!!

This week's study has sparked Big Brother's interest in whales! He found the toy humpback whale pictured above in his room and brought it out to show me during science class this week. :) He was excited to learn that the ugly bumps on its body are actually smaller animals called barnacles that attach themselves to the whale!

He has become so fascinated with whales in fact that we are planning to start this Whale Lapbook from Homeschool Share for science next week!

Of course we live in Kentucky, so we don't have an ocean really close by that we can go visit, but Big Brother does have his very own "Ocean Zoo" in his bedroom filled with real, live Sea Monkeys!

These things are so much fun to watch and super easy to care for, too!! They come in kits that include eggs and food. You can find all different kinds of Sea Monkey kits here!

We are having so much fun learning about God's creation this year!

What are your children studying in science right now? Comment below!!

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Wednesday, February 4, 2015

Are You Following the Multitude?

Today in my Good Morning Girls Bible Study, we read Exodus 23. The chapters we are studying right now contain a lot of God giving Moses the Law for the Jews at that time. I must say it is some very interesting reading even for this modern day Gentile living under the blood of Christ! By reading through these commands, I am learning more about God's character, and that He cares about every aspect of our lives.

The verse that stood out to me in today's reading was Exodus 23:2

Thou shalt not follow a multitude to do evil.

It can be so easy fall into sin and trouble by just following the crowd. It takes no effort at all to just go with the flow and not rock the boat.

But Jesus said, "Strait is the gate, and narrow is the way which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it." (Matthew 7:14)

Just because "everybody is doing it" does NOT make it right in the sight of God.

God's people are a separated people. We are going to stand out from the crowd and be different from the world around us. Many times we will have to take a stand on our convictions, and we will not be popular for doing so.

It takes courage, strength of character, and confidence to be different. It takes being totally sold out to God and being rock solid in our faith.

If relatively few people find the narrow path, then that means the majority of "the crowd" out there is going the wrong way! Sure they may seem to be taking the easy way or just simply following the path of least resistance, but in the end it will be their downfall!

We need to teach our children both in word and by example that it is OK to be different and to stand out from the crowd. We should not be so caught up ourselves in keeping up with the patterns, fashions, and lifestyles of the world around us that we pass this on to our children.

Paul admonishes us in Romans 12:2

"Be not conformed to this world, but be ye transformed by the renewing of your minds that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect will of God."

Conformity (or fitting in) with the world is not God's plan for His people. He has a much greater purpose for our lives as we strive to be more and more like HIM.

We should be as different from the world as light is from darkness.

So how are you living your life?

Are you simply following the multitude?

Do you go for statements like "If it feels good, do it!" or "Everybody's doing it, so it must be OK!"

Do you ask yourself "What would Jesus Do?" or are you afraid of being seen as "weird?"

Do you get your worldview from CNN or from the good old KJV?

Do you send your children to a humanist school system simply because it is free and "Everybody else is doing it?" Is it more important to you that your children "fit in" than that they receive a Christian education?

Do you choose your clothing based on what's "hot" or based on God's standards of modesty?

Would anyone ever guess that you were a Christian from observing your daily life?

Would you be willing to take a stand against some form of wickedness in our society if you had the opportunity, or would you simply keep quiet and go along?

Is Godliness and holiness still in style in your home? Or Are you following a multitude to do evil??

God never promised the Christian life would be the easy way. There will be struggles and times we may have to swim against the currents of our society. But He has promised to bless His people with joy and peace that this world cannot even begin to understand!

I pray every one of us will heed Paul's admonition in 1 Timothy 6:11

"But thou, O man of God, flee these things; and follow after righteousness, godliness, faith, love, patience, meekness."

Don't just follow the multitude!!

I love this little children's song, Dare to be a Daniel

Dare to be a Daniel,
Dare to stand alone,
Dare to have a purpose firm,
Dare to make it known!

God bless you as you live for Him!

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Tuesday, February 3, 2015

You Might Be a Homeschooler If...

This post was featured on the Homeschool Mother's Journal!

We've all heard these jokes! :) You can find them all over the internet.

As a 2nd generation homeschool mom with quite a few years of homeschooling under my belt, I think I can give a pretty good view of what it looks like. :)

So I wanted to do my own version of a "You Might Be a Homeschooler If..." list. I came up with some of these, my parents and brother came up with some, and some I have heard here and there over the years. I realize some of these may not apply to all homeschoolers, but they are still fun!

You Might Be a Homeschooler If...

1.) You love snow days because you can get more schoolwork done!

2.) You know what HSLDA is, and you have them on speed dial!

3.) You feel like you know the characters from Adventures in Odyssey personally!

4.) You name your dog "Whitaker," but most folks just call him "Whit!"

5.) Giving a book report involves costumes and a full-scale dramatic production!

6.) You graduate from high school before getting your driver's license!

7.) You can read and write cursive!

8.) You see your principal and your teacher kiss each other daily!

9.) You walk side-by-side with your friends instead of in single file lines!

10.) You have never had to worry about bullying!

11.) You have had the same teacher from preschool through 12th grade!

12.) You have ever had to explain to someone why you don't know what grade you are in!

13.) Not only are the 10 Commandments posted on your classroom wall, but you are required to memorize them!

14.) You have no idea how to open those little paper milk cartons!

15.) Your family vacations are extended field trips!

16.) Your family plans vacations in September when all the fun places are less crowded!

17.) Your mother can justify talking to herself by saying she's having a parent-teacher conference!

18.) You actually prefer the book to the movie version!

19.) You are on a first name basis with the staff at your local public library!

20.) You actually have something to talk about when an adult asks you what you've been learning in school!

21.) You can read fluently from the KJV Bible before you can tie your shoes!

22.) Your legislators know you by name because you and your family call, write, and visit them so often!

23.) You get P.E. credit for riding your bike, playing baseball in the backyard, or going to the park with your friends!

24.) You are sick and tired of people worrying about whether you will be "socialized!"

25.) You can recite Patrick Henry's "Give me liberty, or give me death" speech word perfect, but you have no idea about the current #1 pop song!

25.) You have been to the Creation Museum at least 5 times!

26.) Your teacher reads the Bible and prays with you every morning before school!

27.) You have never been late for school!

28.) You do not have to ask for a hall pass in order to go to the bathroom!

29.) You have never lost your lunch money!

30.) You have never had to ride to school in a vehicle that did not have seat belts!

31.) Changing a lightbulb in your house results in a unit study on Thomas Edison!

32.) You get Home Ec credit for doing dishes, helping with laundry, cooking supper, and watching your younger siblings!

33.) You get to enjoy your birthday and Christmas gifts during school time!

34.) You have tons of favorite games and none of them require electricity!

35.) You have at least 2 ongoing science experiments in your bedroom at any given time!

36.) You have ever done a math lesson while helping to change a diaper!

37.) You have ever had school in your car or van!

38.) You can correctly pronounce names like "Mephibosheth" and "Zerubabel!"

39.) You know what really happened to the dinosaurs!

40.) You get to have fun in the evening instead of doing homework!

41.) Trips to the grocery store, post office, bank, or dentist are considered field trips!

42.) You know the song parodies, but not the songs themselves!

43.) Your mother's wardrobe consists mostly of denim jumpers!

44.) You have worn your pajamas to school and it was not a bad dream!

45.) You consider having to do textbook work after lunch to be cruel and unusual punishment!

46.) The two big highlights of your day are when the mail runs and when your dad gets home from work!

47.) Your birthday is an official school holiday!

48.) You judge distances of car trips by how many Adventures in Odyssey episodes you can listen to on the way!

49.) You have at least one full bookshelf in every room of your house, and there are still books stacked all over the place!

50.) You spend hours before Christmas and birthdays circling items in your CBD and Rainbow Resource catalogs!

51.) You can't stand when people use double negatives!

52.) You know the difference between there, their, and they're!

53.) Getting sick involves doing schoolwork in the doctor's office waiting room!

54.) Your favorite movies are documentaries!

55.) Your little brother broadcasts a Christian radio station heard around the block from his bedroom!

56.) Your family declares the day next year's textbooks arrive in the mail to be a day of celebration!

57.) Your BFFs wear dentures!

58.) Your mother nearly has a stroke everytime someone asks you where you go to school and you politely reply, "We don't go to school!"

58.) Other children are jealous of you because you actually get to spend time with your parents!

59.) You have ever spent recess roller skating in your kitchen!

60.) Your mom knows how to incorporate the use of LEGOs into every school subject!

61.) You have ever felt sorry for the kids on the school bus when it goes by in the afternoon 3 hours after you have finished all your schoolwork for the day!

62.) Your parents ground you by taking away your ABeka history book and Adventures in Odyssey CDs!

63.) Your 10 year old brother has ever made a shot for shot remake of "The Sound of Music" entirely on a cell phone with a cast of stuffed animals and sock monkeys!

64.) You have ever asked your mom what something was, and she had you write a research paper on it!

65.) You spend Halloween handing out tracts to trick-or-treaters!

66.) Your first Social Studies teacher was named Mister Rogers!

67.) You know the zip codes for Colorado Springs, Colorado and Vancouver, B.C.!

68.) While you do not get snow days, the snowman you built did count as an art project!

69.) You have ever asked your mom, "Can this count as school?"

70.) Your favorite super hero is Larry Boy!

71.) Your younger siblings received extra credit for accompanying you on your senior trip!

72.) You have ever done 2 days worth of school in 1 so your family could leave early for vacation!

73.) You have an opinion on whether mastery or spiral based instruction is the best math teaching method!

74.) You received Social Studies credit for your first date...provided you wrote a report on it afterwards!

75.) It was a BIG deal when your parents pulled the T.V. out of the closet so you could all watch the Presidential election results together!

Do some of these apply to your family? How would you complete the sentence, "You might be a homeschooler if..."? Tell me in the comments section!!!

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